I have read the amendments to city ordinances, proposed by Councilors Anna Trevorrow and Roberto Rodriguez, that would allow camping in certain public areas of Portland through the winter, particularly in our parks.

Public parks are our neighborhoods’ backyards, especially for people who live in buildings without access to outdoor space. Encampments in Deering Oaks and Harbor View (which your newspaper describes as “massive” and “sprawling”) have made it difficult, unpleasant and risky for people to enjoy their public park “backyards.” The councilors’ proposed amendments include City Hall Plaza as one site where camping would be barred – the “front yard” of the very building where they, other city officials and staff come to work and conduct the public’s business.

I have to wonder: Why is camping acceptable in the public’s backyards, but not acceptable in City Hall’s front yard? If the two councilors don’t want to see an encampment when they come to work, why are they telling people in the neighborhoods to be open and welcoming to encampments where they live?

Ellen Murphy

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